Check it out: Thug Kitchen

If you love to cook and be entertained, may I introduce you to Thug Kitchen.  Healthy, delicious, vegetarian meals, with a side of colorful vocabulary.  I cannot even put into words how awesome this cook book is so I will give you some of the recipe ideas and excerpts from their blog:

  1. Spiced Apple Waffles: “You know damn well you don’t eat enough fruit but you sure as shit hit that waffle quota every month. Why not sneak some fruit into your batter for a sweet winter treat that will make you feel less guilty for your waffle habit.”
  2. Roasted Tomato Soup: “It’s below freezing and you’ve been walking through people’s goddamn cough clouds all day. At this point, soup is fucking inevitable but don’t grab some condensed crap. Your body needs some vitamins, not a shitload of sodium. Roast up this bad motherfucker and elevate your soup game.”
  3. Chickpea Pesto Sandwich: “GARBANZO BEANS. CHICKPEAS. WHATEVERTHEFUCK YOU WANT TO CALL THEM. These tiny bastards are filled to the brim with protein, fiber, iron, folate, B-6, magnesium, and all kinds of other boss nutritious shit that your body needs on the daily.If you’re short on time or feeling lazy you can buy them already cooked in a can. They’re less than a fucking dollar. Try them as a sandwich filling, blended up to make hummus, or roasted and wrapped into a burrito. I mean shit, you can use this recipe as a dip or toss it on top of salad. Chickpeas are versatile as fuck.”
  4. Badass Bean Dip: “What’s a party without a super bowl of bean dip? But don’t buy some sorry ass pop-top dip at the store, that shit looks like some damn cat food. Stop wasting space at your snack bar with that beige bullshit and make this dope dip instead.”
  5. Sparkling Grapefruit & Gin Punch : “Don’t just ring in the New Year, start that motherfucker off with a BANG. This is a punch that lives up to the name, so you and your friends might be dropping before the ball does this year. So if you’re gonna get fall down drunk, do it with some goddamn class. “

Those are just a few of their recipes, and the book has so much more.  I bought the cookbook as a wedding gift for a good friend, and ended up getting my own for Christmas, and I make something out of it a couple times a week.  You can purchase your own on Amazon for just $15, I highly recommend this cookbook, its definitely worth it.

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Happy cooking!

-jules

Recovery Made Easy

Just Kidding!  Recovery is never easy!  But seriously here are some tips on recovering and getting the most out of your workout.  Keep in mind that DOMS (thats Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) is going to be inevitable, especially if you’re working hard, so embrace the pain 😉

  1. PROTEIN!  To make sure your muscles get the most out of a workout, you’ve got a window of about 2 hours to get in some protein.  On top of that, athletes usually need nearly twice the recommended amount of protein so that their muscles can keep up with their needs.  So endurance athlete or strength athletes alike should go ahead and reach for that protein shake – or chocolate milk, which has the perfect balance of carbs:protein, so that you can restore your glycogen as well.  If your goal is to lose weight, adding protein to your diet can help you out by aiding in your muscle development and keep you feeling full and satisfied longer.  Instead of adding to your daily calories with a protein shake, try sneaking some protein in at meals.  Have a protein-centric breakfast with greek yogurt, snack on some almonds, or do what I do, and add eggs to everything- my favorite is a veggie stir-fry with rice and eggs with some ground flax seed thrown in for good measure.
  2. Hydrate:  Staying hydrated isn’t just good for your kidneys and your skin – you need to keep your joints and muscles lubricated to prevent injury.  If you can, weigh yourself before your workout, and then after.  Every pound you lost is definitely from sweat.  Follow the pint per pound rule: for every pound lost to sweat, drink a pint of water.  If it was an especially hot day, and you’re salty too, that means you need to add some electrolytes, so drink down one part water and one part gatorade (or any other electrolyte drink).  If you don’t have enough salts in you, you’ll just pee out what you drank and it will take longer to become rehydrated.
  3. Space out your workouts:  I understand this isn’t entirely possible for some people, and who wants to work out twice in a day when you could get it all done in one fell swoop, BUT you will benefit more if you space out your aerobic/endurance type exercises from your strength/weight lifting exercises by a few hours.  Thats because adaptations to these types of workouts follow two different metabolic systems, so whatever adaptations you would gain from your strength workout are cut nearly in half when combined with aerobic/endurance exercise.  So if you’re guilty of doing something like say running 30 minutes, and then following it up with full body strength (me! me!), try splitting up your workout, and doing one part in the morning before work, and then the other part in the evening after work.
  4. Sleep: Your body does so much work for you while you sleep.  Getting enough sleep ensures not only that you are mentally well rested, but also decreases muscular fatigue and aids in your glycogen stores, so that you are physically able to tackle your next workout.  Sleep is different for everyone, but if you can’t get 8 hours a night, get at least 6, or else you’re in sleep deprivation territory and that has a whole other set of negative effects on your health.
  5. Roll it out: There are so many awesome products on the market to help you stretch out and massage those aches and pains.  Imagine your muscles as a rubber band.  Stretch it out.  Now take your finger and push down on the taught band, and run your finger down the edge.  Thats how these products stretch your muscles.  I like the trigger point roller (pictured below with all the different uses!), because its designed with ridges and flat edges to feel like the fingers and palms of a deep tissue masseuse.  It hurts so good!  Theres also regular foam rollers, The Stick, or you can skulk around your local high school and snag a lacrosse ball.  Sit on it, roll it on your foot, on your calves, IT bands, everything. It will definitely hurt while you’re doing it, but you’ll feel so much better after.foam roller

Happy recovering!

-jules

3-2-1 Workout

Its too cold for me to safely run outside today – I’ve already face planted on ice this year, and if I can avoid a repeat offense then I will.  So here is a full hour long workout that will incorporate some cardio, strength, and core, with zero equipment.  High intensity interval training – which is what this cardio portion is – can be hard, so cut back to just three sets of the cardio portion and work your way to five.

30 minutes: Cardio

  1. Jog in place: 2 minutes
  2. 30 jumping jacks
  3. 30 mountain climbers
  4. Squat jumps: 1 minute
  5. Plank burpees: 1 minute

Do five sets, with a minute water break in between each set.

20 minutes: Strength 

  1. 10 Squats: stand with feet shoulder width apart, and touch your thumbs to your shoulders.  Squat so that your elbows taps your knees.  Do 12, and remember to sit back, and keep your knees from passing over your toes.
  2. Back lunges: While standing in place, step back into a lunge, and return to standing. Do 12 with each leg.
  3. Alternating pushups: While in plank position on hands and toes, drop down to elbows one arm at a time.  Then push back up onto hands one at a time.  Thats one rep, do 12.
  4. Tricep dips: grab a chair, I know you have one.  Facing away from the chair with hands on either side and feet extended in front, and dip down for 12 reps.  Lift one foot off the ground for an extra challenge.
  5. Bridge:  On your back with knees bent at a 90 degree angle on the floor, lift your right leg and extend in front of you.  Using your left leg, push against the floor and lift your butt up and lower.  Do 12 reps and then switch legs.

Do this set twice.

10 minutes: Core

  1. Warmup 100:  do 25 crunches, with legs extended out in front, bent at 90 degree angle, at table top, and straight up in the air.
  2. Russian twist:  In a boat position, twist core to the right, and then to the left for 1 rep.  Do 2 sets of 25.
  3. Superman: On your belly with arms and legs extended, lift your right arm and left leg, and switch.  Do 2 sets of 25.
  4. Starfish crunch.  On your back, with arms and legs extended, and keeping them extended and locked, crunch up and tap your right hand to your left toes. Then repeat touching your left hand to your right toes.  Thats one rep, do two sets of 25.
  5. Toe circles.  Laying on your back and propping yourself up on your elbows, point and lift your toes, and keeping them together, make 12 small circles to the right, and repeat to the left.  Do another 12 each way making bigger circles.

All done!  Great job!  Reward yourself with a nice stretch and some water, and a job well done for getting your workout in for the day.

Happy 3-2-1-ing!

-jules

How to Quick-Change

Alright ladies, this ones for you:  How to quick-change from work to workout and back to work.  It requires some skill, planning, and a couple of products.

  1. Plan ahead
    1. Outfit: You want to wear some versatile pieces.  Since its cold and sweat isn’t as much an issue at the moment, I pair some black running tights with boots, and a sweater dress.  That way I can just change back into my top and shoes and be done.  In the summer time, tanks, dresses, and sweater sets are your best friend.  These types of layers let you cool off while you’re on the way back to the office before you throw something on to look more put-together.
    2. Jewelry:  If its a quick-change day, keep it to studs or nothing.  Less to take off, less to put back on.
    3. Make-up: Go light.  Moisturizer, maybe some foundation, and mascara, thats it.  Thats all you need to look wide eyed and awake for work, and it will be easy to touch up after a workout.
  2. Products
    1. Hair:  If you haven’t been introduced to dry-shampoo yet, allow me to do the honors. This is your new best friend.  As soon as you can, spray some on your roots to soak up the sweat and oil.  This should be your first step.  Let it dry while you get ready.  Pretty much every shampoo brand has their own version, but I like Not Your Mother’s the best.
    2. Face:  choose a gentle exfoliating face wash.  Make sure its exfoliating, to make sure you can remove whatever makeup got caked in various crevices, like the side of your nose.   Washing your face makes all the difference in feeling refreshed.  I like this apricot scrub by St. Ives.  Since you might be sweating, instead of layering foundation back on your face, try a moisturizing CC cream, that has some tint, but won’t cover up your post-workout glow.  This one by Physicians Formula is my favorite.
    3. Scent: I don’t completely buy into the pheromone phenomenon, and I’m sure your office mate won’t either.  Have an extra stick of deodorant on hand, and invest in a light body spray – NOT perfume, that will be too strong to spray on mid-day.  I’m a fan of anything by Bath & Body Works, since my mother buys me a litany of sprays and lotions every year for Christmas.  Pick whatever feels right.  Just remember, a light spritz.
    4. Back to hair: Once you feel clean(ish) and refreshed, brush the dry shampoo through your hair.  It should be a little powdery.  If you have dark hair, it may take an extra minute to blend, but you should have hair with volume that won’t stick to your head.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The concept of this post is not to replace the concept of showering.  Hanging out in sweaty gym gear can result in breakouts, odor, and loss of friends.  But sometimes its just one of those days, and getting some exercise in is better than nothing at all, so why let the fear of coming back to work looking a hot mess keep you from reaching your goals. Happy quick-changing! -jules

Motivation time!

Today is an exciting day: I officially registered for my spring marathon, Rock n Roll San Diego!  The marathon is in May, so I’m registered for a warm-up half in March, the Knoxville half marathon.  Races races races!  So exciting.  Knoxville is pretty hilly, and my half PR is in the flatlands (R&R Savannah), but I train in the mountains so I’m sure I can pull out a good time.  For the marathon, I’m really trying to go for a BQ – thats a Boston Qualifying time, for all you non-running folk.  That is about 8 minute miles for me.  I ran 7:40’s this past November (in the flatlands) so I think I can pull it off.  The thing I’m having the most trouble with though, being in the dead of winter in the mountains, is staying motivated.  Here are my reasons why I’m unmotivated:

  1. Its cold.  Like face-hurting cold.  Cold temps slow down your body, so I have trouble hitting my paces, and it usually takes me half my run to really warm up and get a good stride going.
  2. Its dark.  I am very much solar powered.  I wake up with the sun.  I hate hate hate that its dark until 7 am, and then it gets dark again around 5.  I’m an outside runner, and I don’t feel safe running in the dark, so it really narrows the time frame I have to work with to get a run in.  Also its even colder during those times.
  3. I’m busy.  I’m in my final semester of my masters degree and it is really picking up steam.  Its a good day when I can squeeze in a 30-40 minute run.

Now, the best way to combat lazy winter season and the lack of motivation that comes with it, you need to be able to list more reasons to get that workout in than reasons to not workout.  So here are mine:

  1. I have a marathon coming up!  I didn’t pay 150 dollars to walk it!  If I don’t get my workout in, I miss out on valuable base miles.
  2. I’ll let my workout partner down. I have a run buddy, and we use our runs as our mental breaks for the day and vent to each other and talk out everything we’re going through for the week.  If I don’t wanna run, she usually won’t run.  So if I don’t work out, neither of us will be marathon ready.
  3. I’ll let my four legged workout partner down.  And she’ll drive me crazy if she doesn’t get a chance to run out all that energy!
  4. I have the gear.  I’ve got thermal tights, wind breakers, yak tracks, hats, gloves, hand and toe warmers…everything I could possibly need for a cold day run.  The cold is no excuse.
  5. I have the time.  I should really have a masters degree in transitioning from workout clothes to regular clothes.  I’m an expert at dry shampoo and quick changes (I’ll have a post on how to do this soon!).  So really, if I have 30 minutes, I have time to squeeze in a run.  Because a short workout is better than no workout.
  6. finally, I’ll feel better.  If I’ve had a rough day, which, I’m in grad school, every day is a rough day, getting a workout in will always make me feel so much better.  Plus, the worst feeling for someone who exercises regularly, is not being able to get a workout in.

So there it is, 6>3.  If your motivation is starting to drop off, make a list like this, and put it on your fridge, or in a note on your phone so you can see it everyday and when you’re starting to have that inner battle of “do I really need to work out today?”

Tell me! Whats your list?

Happy listing!

-jules

PS: run with me!  I’ve included links to both races I’m running in my first paragraph and below!

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Covenant-Health-Marathon

7 Moves with a Swiss Ball

Exercise equipment gets expensive.  So maybe you’re just getting into exercise, and trying to build your own home gym…or at least have a few things on hand for when you don’t make it to the gym. It’d be great if we could all have huge weight machines, treadmill, elliptical, and all of the kettle bells, but it adds up pretty quickly (kettle bells are charged by the pound!).  So if you’re getting into exercise, or need something to do at home on a rainy day, I suggest the Swiss ball.  So without further ado, behold, the full body Swiss Ball Workout.  Go through the circuit two or three times.

1) Swiss ball pass:  Works your core, back, and hip flexors and adductors.  Do 10 passes.sb1

2) Bridge.  While your on your back, hold this for 1 minute to work your back and glutes.  sb6

3) Hamstring curl.  Stay in bridge position, and bring that swiss ball towards you for a set of 10 to work your hamstrings.

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4) Push up pike.  Roll over on your belly, and with your feet on the ball, push up, and with your legs locked, pike your butt up.  Do a set of 10, for your core and arms.

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5) Plank tuck:  Hold that plank position after your last pushup, and bring knees to chest for a set of 10.

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6) Wall squat.  Put that ball between you and a hard place, and squat to a 90 degree angle.  Do a set of 10.

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7) Backwards Lunge: You’ll challenge your balance with this one.  Do 10 on each leg.

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***please excuse my use of internet pictures instead of taking my own, I wrote this post between research subjects, and was therefore in professional attire and would look silly.

Happy ballin’!

-jules